Allen steps down from council, 13 applicants vie for Pos. 4

Tuesday was former Redmond City Council member Kimberly Allen’s last day serving as she stepped down from her position.

Allen, who served on council for 11 years, announced her resignation at the beginning of January, citing her job as the reason. As previously reported, she is a land-use consultant for cellphone companies and does a lot of traveling, primarily throughout the western United States. Much of Allen’s work includes attending other city council and planning commission meetings. These fall at the beginning of the week, conflicting with Redmond’s council meetings.

“I don’t ever want to do anything halfway,” she said adding that this includes serving on council.

As of Tuesday, 13 applicants have stepped forward to fill her former Pos. 4. Council will decide on a replacement in March.

At this week’s City Council study session meeting, Allen said stepping down was one of the hardest decisions she’s ever had to make. She shared her love for the city, having previously lived in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Detroit. Allen described one particular moment when she got off on West Lake Sammamish Parkway, likening it to the scene from “The Wizard of Oz” in which Dorothy arrives in Oz and things go from black and white to color.

“And I thought, ‘I am never leaving,’” she said.

Allen has lived in Redmond for 17 years, the longest she has lived in any one location.

She admitted to initially wanting Redmond to stay exactly how it was but has since come around to the city’s plans for growth, stating that it’s been a journey but she is in, 100 percent. She advised council to stay the course.

“I think it’s a good plan,” Allen said.

While she joked about how she thinks the city has enough rust-colored and mustard-colored buildings, she also discussed what she is most proud of during her time on council. And that has been the work they have done to help those in the community who have less, noting that Redmond was the first city on the Eastside to take in Tent City as well as the first city to require that 10 percent of units in new developments be set aside for affordable housing.

Allen also expressed how she has been proud to serve with each member of council and her confidence in them to continue this work.

“You’ve got it,” she said. “You’re on it.”

Allen said it had been a privilege to serve with them and a privilege to serve the City of Redmond. She told the council members that she will miss them but said she will be back from time to time to let them know how they are doing.

“So don’t be surprised to see me,” she said.

Allen said she will also miss the “top-notch” people who work for the city.

“They made my job so easy,” she said about them keeping her informed. “They made me look good.”

On Wednesday, Allen said it feels strange to no longer be on council and that it will be a transition, but she continues to stay busy with her business.

Following her remarks on Tuesday, council members presented Allen with a photo of all of them together along the Redmond Central Connector that was taken over the summer.

Council president Hank Margeson also recalled memories from working with Allen throughout the years, discussing her land-use expertise, calling it “invaluable.”

“And then there’s the legacy that goes along with it because it was your advocacy that has led us to a place now, and I’m thrilled to say, that we’re moving toward updating our quasi-judicial processes and so that will be your lingering legacy,” he told Allen.

Margeson added that Allen’s service to the community has included offering legal advice and aid — pro bono — to those who have needed it.

He said he is very, very grateful for this, adding that Allen has been a great and compassionate leader as a vice chair with him.

“I can lean on you,” he said, while noting that he did not ask her to fill in too often as he did not “miss school” that often.

In response, Allen called him “the president with perfect attendance,” which brought a laugh.

Margeson said over the years, he and Allen have become friends and he is “forever grateful” for her friendship.

During Tuesday’s meeting, council discussed the next steps in the process to fill Allen’s spot.

After a lengthy discussion, council decided that, since there are more than 10 applicants, they will hold interviews with the candidates beginning at 1 p.m. on Feb. 11 at Redmond City Hall. The interviews will be held in 20-minute intervals and conducted by a committee. The committee will reconvene at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 to discuss the candidates and narrow the pool down to a smaller group of finalists. Council did not decide on a number of finalists. Final interviews will be held between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on March 7. On that day, at the start of council’s official meeting, council will make a nomination, or nominations, for a new council member to serve Allen’s remaining term, which is through the end of the year.

Allen said, looking at the quality of the candidates, there is no doubt that council will be will served with new energy and insight.